Maya is at the age now where she likes to find books she can “read” to us (aka books she has memorized). She likes to sit on a chair, pretend she is a teacher, and read the book to Edie and me – it’s Maya story time and it’s great. The other day she brought me our very well-loved copy of Brown Bear, Brown Bear. This was given to us as a gift for Kai, and Kai loved this book so much that there is a decent amount of tape on this book to hold it together from Kai’s enthusiasm in turning the pages.

I remembered that we have an audio clip of Kai “reading” this book with Shawn. I pulled it up so Maya could hear. I heard his sweet little voice with his little kid “accent”, and my eyes welled up immediately.  “Mama?”, Maya said, “What’s wrong?” I just shook my head, I couldn’t talk, the lump in my throat was too big.  They both then scrambled into my lap, Edie kind of clawing at my eyes (ha!) with a puzzled look as if to ask what was wrong, and then the tears wouldn’t stop.

I was crying because my heart aches for my son, but also because I felt so horrible realizing how much time I let go by without taking the time to truly stop, be still, and remember him – listen to his voice, look at his little face in the pictures, and fully grieve his absence.

Today marks four years and these past few months have been different for me. I find myself having flashbacks at times while not even thinking about what happened and just feeling like my heart is heavier. I think it may be that I haven’t been grieving well or even living well, and perhaps these are signs of that. God has sustained us through every moment, no doubt, and maybe He is trying to tell me something: reminding to rest in Him, and grieve with Him and not just gather strength from Him.

I struggle too with trying to “balance” how what happened manifests itself in our life, such as making sure Maya or Edie doesn’t feel like Kai overshadows them, or that it’s all about losing Kai. Instead, maybe it could be recognizing that all of our struggles, whatever they may be, are defining moments in our life, but they do not define who we are.  It’s the daily challenge and choice we all face – living fully and presently in the midst of chaos and struggles as well as the joy and amazing moments.

Thank you again so incredibly much for continuing to support and love us so well. Thank you for continuing to share your Kai stories and how something reminded you of him. It has helped so much these past four years.

Kai Kai, goodness gracious, we love you and miss you so much. I am so happy you are pain free and experiencing such joy, and we send you all the love our hearts can hold and more!